Windows 7 Forums

Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: Determine Product Key From Unbootable Hard Drive

29 Jun 2014   #31
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

OK, In order to try what had been suggested in the previous post you must make the faulty drive as the boot drive

Instead I would like you to try this with the faulty drive as a second internal drive in your present system as it is.

You should copy the "SOFTWARE" file(hive) on to a pendrive.

The screenshot below shows its location. ( This is in my working system drive so I cannot copy it since it is open. In your non-system drive you should be able to copy it)

Determine Product Key From Unbootable Hard Drive-29-06-2014-15-54-11.jpg

As I see in your Windows Disk Management Screen, it should be
Computer > E: > Windows > System 32 > config > RegBack

Copy the "SOFTWARE" file to a pendrive.

Now download MiTeC Windows Registry Recovery 1.5.2 under 'Forensic " in Components

Extract the downloaded WRR.zip to a folder and run WRR.exe as administrator.

Open the "SOFTWARE" file you had copied to the pendrive in WRR.

Determine Product Key From Unbootable Hard Drive-29-06-2014-16-35-39.jpg

Hopefully you should be able to see all details including the Product Key - provided the aborted checkdisk hasn't played foul with it or it was corrupted even before.




My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
29 Jun 2014   #32
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Hmm.. I hadn't tried the Windows Registry Recovery software before and so decided to give it a shot.

Here is a live screenshot showing the Product Key of DELL Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit obtained by WRR.

My DELL laptop - which I never use - is dual boot with Windows 8. I booted into Windows 8 and copied the Windows 7 "SOFTWARE" hive from RegBack. Don't bother I am revealing the Product Key. It is the generic OEM key DELL uses for all Windows Home Premium OEM installs and it is no secret. ( Windows 8 is retail: I can't show you the key.)

So Windows Registry Recovery proved.

Determine Product Key From Unbootable Hard Drive-29-06-2014-18-28-36.jpg


My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2014   #33
boweasel

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

I'm still working on the re-image part of this FUBAR. I'll try your product key suggestions if and when it's determined that this imaging end of the project is a dead end...


Attached Thumbnails
Determine Product Key From Unbootable Hard Drive-capture7.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

29 Jun 2014   #34
gregrocker

 

I would think that's it for the reinstall.

Try the other Product Key reader.

Are the files are still visible in PW Explore or using Copy & Paste - in Windows Recovery Console or a Linux disk? One of the more advanced members like SIW2 or Jumanji might be able to help you break into the encrypted key file more directly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2014   #35
boweasel

Windows 7 home premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jumanji View Post
OK, In order to try what had been suggested in the previous post you must make the faulty drive as the boot drive

Instead I would like you to try this with the faulty drive as a second internal drive in your present system as it is.

You should copy the "SOFTWARE" file(hive) on to a pendrive.
Hopefully you should be able to see all details including the Product Key - provided the aborted checkdisk hasn't played foul with it or it was corrupted even before.
Okay... FINALLY something that seems to work. I have the key. Or at least A key, with the requisite 25 character jumble of letters and numbers. And since the image process has gone south I guess I'll have to manually reinstall Windows 7 using the product key just obtained (and thanks for that!), then go to an ASUS site (they manufactured the motherboard) and download the drivers.

One thing confuses me - the machine I'm typing on now is a 64 bit Windows 7 Home Premium. When I go to the root directory for THIS PC, I have 2 program files folders. One is just Program Files. The other is Program Files (x86). The slaved HDD (the one that's bad) only has the one Program Files folder. There is no x86 folder. Doesn't this mean that the OS on the slaved drive is 32 bit? And without having a 32 bit W7 Home Premium disk can I use a 64 bit disk with the ASUS motherboard and the product key I just obtained?

And a legal question - does my friend have any legal recourse against the owners of the computer shop that installed W7 on her tower WITHOUT affixing a COA sticker with the new key? Years ago a friend upgraded from Vista to 7. He ordered 7 online, paid for it, got the download link in an email, burned it to a DVD, and got the product key in a separate email. He never received any official COA sticker. Of course he didn't resell the PC either....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2014   #36
gregrocker

 

Yes the slaved drive as you describe is likely 32 bit. I would continue with 32 bit if you have 4gb or less RAM for best performance. If more or you intend to upgrade RAM then use 64 bit.

If you stick with the same steps in Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 which provides the latest official installer, you will get and keep a perfect install for as long as you do. You can then image it so you never have to reinstall again so its worth getting this one perfect with our help.

Note how drivers are suggested to be handled best in Win7. Only import drivers are all updates are installed, with reboots, after enabling Automatically deliver drivers via Windows Update (Step 3). Put your network driver in your backup in case it's not provided during install so you can get online and go right to Updating, making sure to include the Optional drivers right away.

I would have your friend contact the computer shop and ask where the COA sticker is, that MS requires it by law for resale, and we are waiting to hear back the answer in the top tech forums.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2014   #37
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

I am retiring for the day now. Before that:

Try the SOFTWARE hive in the RegBack.

Windows Key will also be available in the SYSTEM hive in that folder. You can copy that also and open it in WRR.

You may also go down one level below, that is just open the config folder.

There also you will find the SOFTWARE and SYSTEM hives. You may copy those also and open in WRR > Windows Installation. (Since these have the same names as those in the RegBack folder, copy these to a different folder on the pendrive )

Determine Product Key From Unbootable Hard Drive-29-06-2014-23-05-38.jpg

I have no further ideas.

Good Luck.

EDIT: Oh! I see you got the key. That is good. Just check whether you get the same key in System Hive


My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2014   #38
gregrocker

 

Yes, I would not delete the old drive at all until you have safely activated with the retrieved key, and I'd want it confirmed twice.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2014   #39
jumanji

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

Do not bother about 32bit or 64 bit. The key is same for both.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2014   #40
gregrocker

 

He's going to reinstall, so needs one or the other.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 Determine Product Key From Unbootable Hard Drive




Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search




Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Windows 7 Product key on case, but no hard drive.
Hi, Have a pc with the Windows 7 Product key sticker on the case, but no hard drive. Can I install a hard drive and use this product key? Thanks, Joe
General Discussion
Trying to determine if my hard drive is about to die
I don't know if this is a hardware or a software issue, so I put it in this section. I'm really worried that one of my hard drives is failing, but I don't know for sure. Here's the story: Fed up with Windows 8.1, I decided to go back to Windows 7 Pro. So I copied all my personal files onto my...
Hardware & Devices
Reformatted hard drive, Windows product key not accepted
Hi guys, my Asus notebook came with Vista and the tech installed the Win 7 upgrade a few years ago. (I have the upgrade disks but there is no product key on them and the tech has left the country.) I recently reformatted the hard drive and inserted the Asus rescue and driver disks to get a clean...
Windows Updates & Activation
How Determine If Hard Drive Is Physical or Virtual?
How can one determine if a hard drive is physical or virtual? (From software--without opening up the computer.)
General Discussion
Determine if a Product Key is already in use on another machine?
I have multiple users, all remote and I have another machine I need to load with Windows 7, I know one of the retail versions of windows 7 I have has yet to be used, just not sure which one... Other than walking all users through the process of checking product codes to find which one is not in...
Windows Updates & Activation
New Hard Drive won't take same product key?
I just bought a new Hard drive and I installed windows 7 onto it, but whenever I put in my product key, it says the key is not valid. Does this mean I have to buy a brand new Windows 7 or is there a way around this?
Installation & Setup


Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:24.

Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App